Pete Seeger

Story Songs

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A 1961 collection of traditional ballads and more recent story-songs such as a pair of Woody Guthrie classics, Story Songs is a fine traditional folk-style album. Although story-songs are often thought of as children's music -- and there are some safe-for-the-kiddies songs here, most notably "The Foolish Frog," a story his musicologist father Charles Seeger had told his own children -- this selection of tunes also includes a fair amount of material for more grownup tastes, most notably Guthrie's gangster ballad "Pretty Boy Floyd" and the snarky "Aimee McPherson," about the disgraced evangelist. Overall, Story Songs is a typically fine and well-chosen selection of songs given Pete Seeger's usual treatment, but there's little that's genuinely gripping here in terms of performances. In the end, it feels as if Story Songs was an interesting idea competently executed, but with little in the way of passion or enthusiasm. As a result, it's a listenable album, but hardly a great one.

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